At first the King could hardly believe that this poor man was really the great Earl of Warwick, but when he became sure of it he threw his arms round Guy and kissed him. “Dear friend, we have long mourned for thee as dead,” he cried. “Now thou wilt come with me and help me to rule, and I will honor thee above all men.”
But Guy would not go back. He made the King promise to tell no man who he was. This he did for the sake of the oath which he had sworn, that he would never again fight for glory but only for a righteous cause. Then once more they kissed, and each turned his own way, the King going sadly back to Winchester.
As he entered the gates the people crowded round him, eager to know who the pilgrim was. But King Athelstane held up his hand. “Peace,” he said, “I indeed know, but I may not tell you. Go to your homes, thank God for your deliverance, and pray for him who overcame the giant.”
HOW AT LAST GUY WENT HOME
After Guy left the King, he journeyed on towards Warwick. And when he came to the town over which he was lord and master no one knew him. So he mixed with the poor men who came every morning to the castle gates to receive food from the countess.
Guy listened to what those round him said. He heard them praise and bless Phyllis, calling her the best woman that had ever lived, and his heart was glad.
Pale and trembling, Guy bent before his wife, to receive food from her hands. He was so changed that even she did not know him, but she felt very sorry for the poor man who seemed so thin and worn, so she spoke kindly to him and gave him more food than the others, and told him to come every day as long as he lived.
Guy thanked her, and turned slowly away. He remembered that a hermit lived in a cave not far off, and to him he went. But when he reached the cave he found it empty. The hermit had been dead many years.
Guy then made up his mind to live in the cave. Every morning he went to the castle to receive food from Phyllis. But he would only take the simplest things, often eating nothing but bread and drinking water from the spring which flowed near.
Every evening Guy could hear Phyllis as she paced to and fro, for her walk was not far from the hermit’s cave. But still some strange enchantment, as it were, held him dumb, and although he still loved her, although he knew that she sorrowed and longed for him to return home, he could not say, “I am here.”
At last one day Guy became very ill. He had no longer strength to go to the castle, so calling a passing countryman to him, he gave him a ring. It was the ring which Phyllis had given him, and which he had kept ever with him through all his pilgrimage. “Take this,” he said to the countryman, “and carry it to Fair Phyllis, the Countess of Warwick.”
But the countryman was afraid. “I have never spoken to a great lady, and I do not know how to address her,” he said. “Besides she may be angry with me, and I shall get into trouble if I carry a ring to the earl’s wife.”